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Modern Logic and Judicial Decision Making: A Sketch of One View (with M. E. Caldwell), 28 Law & Contemporary Problems 213 (1963)


Two hundred years elapsed before the nineteenth century logicians Boole, De Morgan, and others, finally succeeded in formally developing the "calculus of reason-ing" first suggested by the German mathematician, Leibniz. It is, perhaps, to the credit of the legal profession that less than one century has subsequently elapsed, and already some lawyers and legal writers, along with other scholars, are beginning to explore the relationship between modern logic and law. What is attempted here is to outline the bare bones of one tentative way of looking at the relationship between modern logic and the judicial decision process. From the useful vantage point of a Lasswellian social process framework of analysis, logic and judicial decision making are considered contextually within that total mani-fold of events that we call "the world." Thus viewed, the judicial decision making process is just one constituent of the complex unfolding of events through time. We attempt to represent some of the complexities involved in each of these processes and the relationships between them by means of a series of diagrams. By suggesting that we begin with the world as our context, we make no claim to describing it in complete detail. To the contrary, the sketch presented here-we would emphasize the word "sketch" and the word "tentative"-is rough, incomplete, and subject to considerable improvement. But one of our purposes will be served if the outline points the way toward cumulative efforts to achieve a comprehensive description of the judicial decision process. In addition to this broad look at logic, judicial decision making, and the world, a more modest aim is to describe, in some detail and with reasonable clarity, one aspect of the relation between logic and judicial decision making.

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